Alister Jack urges SNP to 'take the batteries out of the grievance machine'
Alister Jack will today urge the SNP to “take the batteries out of the grievance machine”, with the Scottish Secretary expected to use his speech to Scottish Tory conference to call on Scottish ministers to cooperate more effectively with the UK Government in the response to COVID.
Claiming that “they consistently put the nationalist interest ahead of the national interest”, Jack will argue the SNP “will not be forgiven if they place their ideological obsession with separating from the United Kingdom above the huge effort we must all make to bounce back from the misery of COVID”.
Jack will highlight the role of city and growth deals, the Union Connectivity Review and Freeports in stimulating growth and creating jobs in response to the economic damage done by coronavirus, while also demanding the SNP drops support for a second independence referendum.
UK ministers have announced plans to invest £1.5bn in growth deals north of the border, while plans for a review of connectivity, examining how the UK government can improve transport infrastructure between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, were released in June.
Jack will tell delegates: “There are huge opportunities ahead of us. But to take full advantage of these we need the Scottish Government to match our ambition. It is time for all of us to work together, and ensure we really do build back better.
“People in Scotland expect both their governments to work together on a successful future for us all. We’ve seen what we can achieve when we do work together - for example with our City and Growth Deal programme.
“But on other schemes, the Scottish Government has too often been half-hearted in their support, or even openly hostile. For example, the Scottish Government threatened to delay preparations for our exciting Festival UK 2022, an event that will showcase the best of British culture, design and science to the rest of the world.
“Ridiculously, Nationalist ministers in Edinburgh objected to any references to ‘the UK’ or ‘Britain’.
“Nationalist ministers continue to snub the Union Connectivity Review, claiming wrongly that it undermines devolution.
“And they are also dragging their heels in backing our Freeports plan, despite interest from a number of sites in Scotland.
“Most disgracefully of all, the Scottish Government has failed to support the UK Government’s position on ending the CFP, and becoming an independent coastal state once again. Indeed, if they got their way they would simply hand back control to Brussels.
“Sadly, it seems the SNP’s determination to start a row with Westminster outstrips their desire to support Scotland’s economy and Scottish jobs.
“They consistently put the nationalist interest ahead of the national interest.
“SNP ministers need to take the batteries out of the grievance machine, stop stirring conflict with the UK Government, and seek to work with us instead.
“They will not be forgiven if they place their ideological obsession with separating from the United Kingdom above the huge effort we must all make to bounce back from the misery of COVID.”